Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Vegan Chef? Um, not.

When I originally started this blog, I had a tab for recipes. I intended to become some kind of vegan chef and I was going to share all of my fabulous recipes. There are several flaws to this idea that I had.

First and foremost I am constantly multitasking and easily lose track of things on a hot stove and in a hot oven.  I really burn a lot of things and I risk significant injury. I am the one that stabbed a fork through my thumb not paying attention when I was stabbing holes in a potato that I was going to bake. Second, I don't follow recipes that well.  Usually I can't imagine that was the way it was intended to taste when it was done and if it was intended to taste that way, then I picked out a recipe that really sucked!  Third forces me to let you in on a little secret--I can actually cook.  I cook just a few things and I cook them really well.  The problem is,  in no way shape or form are they something someone who has had a heart attack should be eating--they are comfort and artery clogging foods. Not to mention full of salt just from the ingredients without adding any extra.  I make a mean lasagna, kick ass spaghetti sauce, awesome beef stroganoff, Texas sheet cake to die for and some really good fudge and chocolate chip cookies.

Because our forecast called for snow and ice I decided that I should eat it up really well before the end of the year and I got some crazy domestic whim that I would cook them all while it snowed and iced.  So, Friday after work, off to my little grocery store in town I went. Honestly after a day at work I just want to get home and I don't want to stop on my hour drive anywhere in Kansas City so I support the grocery store in my little town that costs more:

I don't make a list, I get out each recipe and walk through the store with it until I have everything I need in my cart and then I take out the next and do the same thing. My few recipes I can make well are almost too old to be dragging around the store.  They are taped back together and some have my grandmas handwriting on them:

I started cooking at 8:30 yesterday morning and cooked all day.  We now have Beef Stroganoff, Lasagne, Spanish rice, breakfast casserole, chocolate fudge, peanut butter fudge and six batches of chocolate chip cookies. The dog could hardly believe her good fortune that there were actually crumbs on the kitchen floor:

 Actually, I gave up about 2 pm and decided it was time for my girlies to learn how to use the kitchen aid so they each made three batches of cookies:

So, I'm living it up until the end of the year and then I will go back and eliminate sugar, soda, dairy and meat!

When I first started this blog, it was going to be this great health blog.  However, it has morphed into an account of my day to day emotional journey that this heart attack thing has sent me on.  If you are looking for a health blog about heart attacks and women with heart disease it really isn't here.  I post a little of that stuff but not much.  If you found me and that is what you are really looking for, you certainly want to visit Jen Thorson at My Life In Red.  In fact I am in her new post--number 9 for my guest post last February, Heart Attack Stun.  She has a wealth of health information that you will find helpful.  You should also visit Carolyn Thomas at Heart Sisters.  She has a great blog with great info and one of my favorites is "We are all patients." No, you're not.  I would so love to give the ass first cardiologist I had a lesson in this! These are the two places you should visit for the health stuff.  Jen even has that recipe section that I so hilariously thought I would have here:).  I found these wonderful ladies as I searched the internet frantically to find out about what had just happened to me and what I could expect my life to be like.  Here they were, such relief jumping from my computer screen in the middle of the night when I was afraid that I would die if I went to sleep.  It would be my great joy to meet them one day!

Instead, this has turned into my only semi-successful chronicled journey to become more healthy.  If anything, I learn that what I used to see as so easy is most certainly not.  So, if you have found me because you have googled women and heart disease and are looking to find out that you are not alone in your emotional journey, you are in the right spot..  I put it out there in hopes you find yourself in this and know that you are not alone just as I was able to find out in a time that I certainly felt alone that I was not.  There were indeed other women my age and even younger that had experienced exactly what I had.

I start the journey anew on January 1.  I'm not going to put out there the number I'm currently at, but the number I strive for is about 70lbs less than the current one. Mostly I won't put it out because I used to have this just for me and my family and my lifetime friends and now I have the internet. I get somewhere around 500 hits a week on this blog.  People find my blog and read it and send me messages about their story.  So, I'll share the story whether successful or as has been the reality lately, not so successful.  The one thing I will promise never to do is post my hardly successful vegan recipes for you:)!

I have a new find and that is this great blog, MindBodyGreen.  I love reading it every day.  So happy reading and a very, very Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Yup, I Rock!

I had my Dr. Yang time today. You know I have been dreading it.  All that worrying about my appointment?  Wasted energy.  She spent a long time with me today and we talked nutrition and exercise and those fun things.  We agreed that vegan would be the best course of action going forward because yes she noticed both my weight and cholesterol. 

My BP was good 106/70, EKG, Echo and blood work were all good.  What does that mean for me?  Well it means that at least for the time being,  I didn't have to go to the OR for CABG.  Can I just tell you what a huge relief this is to me??? I mean really, you have no idea! The thought of having my chest cracked open has been a constant source of stress for me as my appointment has neared.  Not only will that not be happening but she said unless I become symptomatic, I don't have to come back for a year!   This is the best possible news ever and I am elated!  Yup, I rock!

This allows me to enjoy the holidays and get ready to promote Go Red for Women month.  I am going to be profiling some courageous women every day during February.  You will not want to miss this series.  I have a few days left to fill so if you know any courageous women that have battled heart disease or stroke and either survived or not, I want to share their stories. You can email me your story or the story of a woman who did not survive that you want to share at and include a pic:)

National Wear Red for Women Day is February 7.  I want to see all of you or your companies in red that day.  In order to see you that means you have to email me a pic at the above email or post a pic to The Skinny Bitch Chronicles Facebook page.  If you send me a pic of your company in red, send me a little blurb about your company so I can profile them!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holy Cholesterol!

Holy Cholesterol!  I certainly know the effect of your diet on cholesterol.  I went and had a yearly check up and had a bunch of  blood work done.  While I was there my doc reminded me that we are shooting for a total cholesterol of under 150.  In fact I have read that they consider you heart attack proof if your cholesterol is under 150.  Just so you know, you are not--mine was 134 the night of my heart attack when they ran it.  I reminded him of this and he asked the nurse what it was when we checked it in May.  It was 111.  All he said was, "Damn."

Well, about May was when I stopped eating plant based and put meat and dairy back in my diet.  Not only am I going the opposite weight direction from skinny bitch, my cholesterol has raised dramatically.  I have gone from 111 to 144 since May just putting meat and dairy back in my diet.  YIKES!  Not as if hating having gained back all of my weight that I lost wasn't significant enough to want to go plant based again, this is a real eye opener.  Now, I do understand that some of you would kill for a cholesterol of 144.  I am someone who would kill to be back at 111.  This just shows that plant based is the right thing for me to do.  Of course it is not the right thing for me to do until after the holidays--once again no reason to set myself up to fail (Really I already bought a spiral sliced ham for Christmas dinner and I just want to eat it--how's that for the truth??).

I find it at little funny that it is my cholesterol number and not the size number of my jeans that makes me come to this realization.  That must be a sign of getting older as well but no matter why, I just feel good that I have been able to come to this decision again.  Really, I never felt better than when I ate plant based.  Food is one of those funny things as it is the center of our social events and it is usually not vegan.  It makes it hard for me to stay vegan but I think after one run at it I can be more successful at it this time--especially since I really, really, really want that 111 cholesterol number back!  I also really never want to have to add any more medication to the cocktail I already take on a daily basis:)

Tomorrow is my cardiologist appointment and I highly doubt she will miss the facts that I have a higher cholesterol number and a higher jeans size--she's a pretty smart lady!

My ex-father in law is having quintuple by-pass (CABG) surgery tomorrow or Monday.  My ever inquisitive youngest child could not understand  what surgery her grandfather is having done (and what surgery I am trying to avoid).  Just so you know, I am obviously a fabulous artist and this, my friends is my back of an envelope, on the level of an 11 year old rendition of CABG.  Notice the blockage and the by-pass is so eloquently represented!  She did understand from this drawing though so yay me!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Who are You?

I have known my dear friend Laura since 7th grade.  We were partners in crime at the University of Kansas and had a memorable time during the Jayhawks 1988 Men's NCAA Basketball Championship run.   That was my first real exposure to March Madness and now it is one of my favorite times of the year! We have recently reconnected and I am so happy that we have!

Laura rocks at being her and on her blog the other day, she wrote a great post titled Facebook: You Are What You Post.   I took her up on her challenge and looked back at not just my last three posts but the last year of posts to see if they accurately represent who I am and if I would want to be friends with me. 

If you looked at my Facebook page you would find out these things about me:

Surprise!  I am a heart attack survivor, I love my friends and family, I bleed crimson and blue--Rock Chalk Jayhawks, I am a Chief's and Royal's fan, I am a bit (ok, a lot) of a smart ass and I hate winter.

Not surprising heart disease posts lead the way on my page.  In fact, I have a whole page for my blog on Facebook, The Skinny Bitch Chronicles.  But still, on my personal page heart disease leads the way.  I figure that my friends that don't want to prevent their own heart attack can choose not to read.  My last three heart attack related posts are:
  1. Women and Heart Disease: How a Decade of Go Red Has Helped   -- I love this article.
  2. Go Red Ambassador Photo Shoot 2013 --we took pics for the Kansas City media blitz for Go Red for Women month coming up in 74 short days!  Get ready to Go red in February 2014! National Go Red for Women day is Friday, February 7 and I urge you to go red and send me pics in your red--of your company or you going red.  I will put them in my February 7 blog post and you won't want to be left out:)
  3. Via the Yale Heart Study Page, I linked an article from the Irish Mirror, New study reveals heart attack victims delaying treatment as they don't recognise symptoms.  
I love my friends and family!  My last three friends and family related posts:
  1. My daughters role in the high school musical that we attended last night.  She was, of course, fabulous!
  2. I posted about an event I am holding for my high school friend Mia who owns Mia Rosado Jewlz.  I love to support my friends in their ventures and we will be having a fun party with finger food and wine!
  3. My visit with my cousin Greg from my Dad's side of the family. We had a great time! He is a pastor in El Paso, TX and I hadn't seen him since my grandpa died.  I went downtown and we had coffee on Friday afternoon and then went to dinner in the Power and Light District. 
Of course my Jayhawk posts.  Did anyone hear that they broke a 27 game Big 12 Football losing streak by beating West Virgina at Memorial Stadium yesterday?   That was as good as a National Championship win!  Great day to be a Jayhawk!  Of course it was worthy of a goal post teardown.  I posted about Oubre committing to the Jayhawk basketball team and of course a little bit (or a lot)  about the Jayhawks beating Duke!

The Chiefs are 9-0 and my last three posts just say Go Chiefs!  All eyes from Kansas City will be on Denver tonight:
My smart ass posts are just intertwined among the rest mostly in the form of sayings and I really do hate winter!

As I look back on my page I can say that I am proud of who I am and the things that define me.  My heart attack defines and guides how I live my life.  Sometimes I lose sight of the definition it gives my life.  The biggest defining measurement since my heart attack is just living for today as you never know what tomorrow brings.  If I had laid down to rest not feeling well I would have been dead. I chose to call an ambulance and I chose right. I have to do that decision justice.

I have a cardiologist appointment coming up in December.  The afternoon of December 13 to be exact.  Even though I am currently symptom free, it causes me some stress.  If you have followed my journey from the beginning, you know I had three stents placed to relieve the 100% occlusion of my LAD the night of my heart attack.  You also know that I suffered from re-stenosis and that they placed an additional two stents inside of the original three to keep me from having another heart attack.  My next journey should my stents fail again would be CABG (coronary artery bypass graft).  I always stress out a little right before my cardiologist appointment that we will discover something that requires the CABG.  I have not been doing my best lately weight wise and nutrition wise to avoid this and my cardiologist is not going to be happy about it.  I love her and she has my best interest at heart and I am trying to do right by her.  I ate mostly vegan over the last week.  I lost 7 pounds doing it.  I am on track to hit all vegan this week.  Anyway, I have to do better with this because I know a bit too much about CABG to ever want to have it done!

The Co-Founder and COO of Medivizor reached out to me and invited me to sign up for their site and let him know what I thought.  If you sign up for their site, you input your medical history and then they match you with associated research on your disease.  They started with cancer and now are spreading out into other diseases such as coronary artery disease.  Check out Medivizor for research on your disease!

Happy Thanksgiving to all if I don't find inspiration for another post before then!  Thanks to Laura Wynn for the inspiration for this post. Laura Wynn is a professional empowerment coach who helps her clients with personal and professional development. You can check out Laura Wynn at her website Laura Wynn Empowerment Coach – Author – Speaker. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Odds and Ends and November Thankfulness

Yesterday, I met with the Director of the American Heart Association--Kansas City and the Heart Walk Director for the 2014 AHA Heart and Stroke Walk. Historically it has just been the Heart Walk, but this year it will be the Heart and Stroke walk. We laid out the plan for my company team.  Have I mentioned that I work for a great company?  They get behind Go Red and The Heart and Stroke Walk!

I urge you to put together a Heart and Stroke Walk team with the company you work for here in KC.  I can hook you up with the right people to get you started! If your company won't take part and you would like to walk, you can walk with my company.  If you don't live here in Kansas City, I can help you find your local Heart and Stroke Walk in 2014. 

I attended my first WomenHeart meeting last night and had a great time.  WomenHeart gives out red scarves at the hospital to women that are pretty ill with heart disease.  I received a bag when I was at LMH in the ICU the day after my heart attack.  If you want to learn more abut the red scarf campaign, check out their video titled The Power of the Red Scarf.  They have many chapters in every state and are a great support group for women with heart disease.  Well, unless you are in Ohio and then they only have one chapter.  It happens to be in my hometown of Akron, OH.  I find it odd there is no chapter in Cleveland or Cincinnati given the medical facilities they have in those towns. If you know of any women in those towns that are heart disease survivors and would be interested in starting a WomenHeart support group, they should check out the WomenHeart website or get them in touch with me and I can help.

On another note, I see on Facebook that people are taking every day in November to tell what they are thankful for.  Not being the most organized person in the world, I have already missed the first four days of this.  It also dawns on me that I am mostly thankful for the same things every single day of November.  So, instead of list them out one by one during the month on Facebook, I thought I would do it all today right here:
  •  Every November, I am thankful for birthdays.  On the 10th, I get to turn 45.  What a gift that is that I get another year!  This leads into the fact that I am thankful for my life every single day.
  • I am thankful for my family.  I have about the best family anyone could have and I am thankful for each one of them.
  • I am thankful for my friends--each and every one of them.  They are fantastic people most of whom I have known for 30 years or more!  Lucky me:)  Those of you that I haven't known for thirty years or more, I intend to keep you as friends for as many more years as I have left!
  • I am thankful for my doctors.  I am thankful for their wisdom.  I am thankful that someone wanted to be a doctor and now uses their lifelong passion to take care of me.  It helps me continue to be thankful for birthdays.
  • I am thankful for my heart sisters because they get it.
Each one of these things I am not only thankful for each day of November, but each day of December, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September and October.

There are smaller things that I am thankful for in the last week:
  • I am thankful that I did not burn the house down when I caught a fry on fire in the oven last week. It is those great domestic skills I have.  I'm sure it was quite comical to watch me fish a burning fry out of the oven with grill tongs while the kitchen is filling with smoke! The commentary coming out of my mouth was probably pretty colorful as well!  Just a day in the life of my kitchen adventures:)  Actually, I am probably thankful every time I come out of the kitchen not having had to call the fire department or make a trip to the ER bleeding to death (especially now that I am on a lifetime of blood thinners!).
  • I am thankful the Chiefs are 9-0.  After all the years of being a Chiefs and Browns fan while they both sucked so bad, what fun it is to be a fan of a winning team!
  • Speaking of a winning team, I am thankful that Jayhawk Basketball season is upon us!  I sit here writing this with Jayhawk Basketball live from the Phog on my TV.
  •  I am thankful in the last week that Jayhawk football is almost over.  I love the Jayhwaks but to be a fan of Jayhawk football has always been as painful as the Chiefs and Browns.  As much as I wish for it every year, I am not sure KU will ever be a football school.
Yes, these are more superficial and shallow things to be thankful for, but the fact that I am around to be thankful for them is a miracle all in itself!  This thing called heart disease dictates you be thankful for even the shallow and superficial things!

So, happy November thankfulness to all of you!  May you each  find the things you are thankful for and live not taking those things for granted.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Heart Party Fun

We always have fun parties and last night was really fun:)  Today is the two year anniversary of my heart attack and we celebrated life, love and friendship last night!:

  My partners in crime at The University of Kansas--we were freshman in 1988 when KU won the NCAA Basketball Championship with Danny Manning.  Every other year we can define by who has been on the Jayhawk mens basketball team!  I also went to jr. high with Laura and high school with Deb.

My Nallwood Jr. High girls.  This means we met 33 years ago:)

 My high school friend (and Vegas friend if you have followed along)  Deb

 My friend Diane

My friend Donita

Deb says this is magenta but we think she wore purple and could possibly be slipping over to the dark side of K State.  She is in luck that K State did not win and has the same miserable record in football that KU has!

We had a great time and I love all these folks plus the others that were there! It appears all the men did not want to be in pictures:)

Happy Heart Anniversary to me today!!  I am so lucky to be here. I get to take my niece's senior pics and root on the Chiefs (who are 5-0.  That's right, FIVE and ZERO!!!!) on this beautiful fall day.  Cherish what you have and cheers to the life and health of all of you as well as me!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Happy Heart Anniversary to Me!!

Sunday October 13 is my two year heart anniversary!  Two years since that moment in time that changed my life so drastically.

I am thankful for so many things about that night. First, I am thankful that I recognized that I was sick enough that I needed to call an ambulance.  Second, I am thankful for the first responders, EMT's and paramedics that came to my house.  Not to mention the fire department, police and county sheriffs officers.  I live in a town of 6,000 people in Kansas and there is really not much that goes on here so calling 911 means they all come.  I am thankful they all came.  I am thankful that there was a fabulous cardiac team waiting on me when I arrived at Lawrence Memorial.  They got paged after hours and left their families to save my life---thank you, thank you, thank you!  I am thankful for the several different cardiologists I have had.  My first cardiologist saved my life when they took me off the ambulance and he had to place three stents in my LAD.  I didn't like him though for post emergency care so  I had to find another cardiologist. I found a second  cardiologist that I loved.  He was funny as hell and humor goes a long way when you are as ill as I was. He discovered the restenosis and put two more stents inside the three I already had.  He up and went to practice in Topeka.  Now, I am seeing Dr.Yang.  She is about my age and a fabulous doc--she takes great care of not only my heart but also me.

They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  To that end, I love this:

Precisely because it did not kill me, I have had experiences that I would not have had if I had never had a heart attack.  I started blogging.  I would have never started blogging.  Much to my surprise, people actually read it and I have met new people because of it.  I started the blog because I was 42, had a heart attack and really just didn't know what to do.  It was more for me to work through what it meant to me, but the fact that you read it makes me smile.  Thank you.  This risk is real for everyone and I want to spread that knowledge to as many people as I can.  If just one person recognizes their risk and acts to avoid heart disease, this life I was handed has meaning.

I have joined the Go Red Ambassadors through the American Heart Association in Kansas City. I have met incredible women that understand.  They are all so different, so interesting and so strong! The first meeting I went to was so emotional--they all just knew why.

In February of 2012 I did not participate in Go Red for Women month.  It was all too new and still very raw and I was still in denial.  By the time February rolled around this year, it meant so much to me.  It was very emotional for me!

On the first Friday in February we went red for women.  My friends, family and co workers went red for me and I love them all for it:

 I attended the Go Red Casting Call:

One of my best friends daughter's held a fundraiser for the AHA selling red dress pins at her middle school:

The result:
My high school friend Mia makes jewelry and made this for the Heart and Stroke Ball silent auction in my honor:

In April I attended the Half Day for Your Heart Event:

In May, my company had  a Greater Kansas City Heart Walk Team and we raised almost $2000.00:

In June we attended Girls Night Out at the K and got to represent heart disease survivors on the field of the Kansas City Royals:

What a fun year it has been and I would have never had these experiences if I wasn't sick!  How is that for odd?  What a strange life it can be.

I look forward to this weekend as tomorrow is my Second Annual Heart Anniversary Party.  Now I love a good party and what better reason?  Tomorrow I celebrate life, celebrate my friends and family and celebrate the fact that I am even around to celebrate.  I love my friends and family and they have been amazing through all of this!  I really am lucky.  I got a second chance to spend more time with them and to reconnect.  Often time life gets in the way of relationships.  People tend to let work overrun their lives and I think you have to make sure that doesn't happen.  Make sure to make those relationships come first--with your family and your friends.  If I had died that night two years ago there would have been so much left unsaid.  Make sure you say it--there is no better time than right now. 

If you are out and about tomorrow night raise your glass for me and toast to my health and life and yours!

With love--


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pay Heed

Off of the heart topic folks.  We are only 10, yes count them 10 days from Late Night at the Phog.

Just to get you in the mood:

And for my Vegas friend Deb because she never could do this while we were at KU and she certainly needs to learn it before KU plays in the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game the first Monday of April in 2014, the fight song clap:

Just to relate this to heart disease and stroke, fifty-six hospitals have earned AHA/ASA and The Joint Commission comprehensive Stroke Center certification. Rock Chalk to KU Med being the Kansas hospital to receive the certification!


Monday, September 23, 2013

I AM Strong Enough to Live It!

Someone posted this picture to Facebook last night and now I can't even remember who.  I suppose that is the cholesterol drug side effect of not being able to remember.  At least I blame my forgetfulness on that because it is convenient to do so! Really, being 44, oh so close to 45 at this point and super busy could possibly be the other reason but I still blame it on the cholesterol medication!  I have thought about this statement all day.  Every time I have had a meeting to hammer out issues today, every time I wondered if I pulled a muscle in my back or if that is a sign of another heart attack I have thought about it.  Whatever my issue was today, I thought about this.  Time after time since my heart attack I wonder who in the hell handed me this life and why in the hell they thought I was strong enough to live it. 

Perhaps I was given this life because I am strong enough to live it. Of course I suppose part of that is my fault as it is not a huge surprise that I grab the injustice of an early massive heart attack by the horns and wrestle with it publicly. Perhaps the one that hands out these lives knows this about me.  Perhaps they knew I would just be pissed enough that this happened to me that I would shout it from every corner of the internet and tell every person that asks so that no one else has to do this.

Perhaps the one that hands out these lives sends the precious ones of you that follow my journey and guides you to send me inspirational messages on my worst days.  The days that I am so tired of having heart disease and dealing with all the bullshit it entails.  On those days, a day much like today,  I usually come home to a message from someone I have known for thirty years telling me they got help and they are ok because of everything I write. On my days when I haven't slept because I was afraid I might not wake up, one of you that reads this or follows me on Facebook reminds me why I was given this life.  On my worst days because of this life, I am also the most grateful for this life.  I am grateful for you that read this be you my closest friend or total stranger for letting me know that I have made a difference in the way you choose to live your life, or that I have made a difference in your decision to seek medical care.

I suppose in some weird demented way , I am actually grateful to the one that hands out these lives. So, thank you whoever you are that hands out these lives for this life (even though there are days I secretly hate you).  Thank you for giving me the chance to make the difference in someones decision to call an ambulance.  Thank you for allowing me to be in the back of the minds of those that are trying desperately to ignore medical symptoms that they really know they shouldn't ignore.  Most of all, thank you for showing me that I am indeed strong enough to live the life you gave me.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Color Run Part 2

If you have followed along you know I did the Color Run in June in K.C.  Today, the Color Run visited Lawrence, KS.  As I bleed Jayhawk Crimson and Blue, we certainly could not miss the Color run in the town of the Jayhawks!  It was a much more laid back atmosphere than K.C. and we had a great time.  I walked again with my heart sister, Julie.  I met her through the AHA.  We started out at at great bakery, Wheatfields.  They have the best no oil, no dairy bread ever!  I buy the Walnut Sage bread:)

We made our way down to Watson Park where they had closed Kentucky and Tennessee streets.  We had such a fun time.  I am eternally grateful that I get to take part in these things.  With the massiveness of my heart attack, easily I could have lost the ability to do these things.

It was a great start to the day in a town I love!